Imagine your alarm goes off – it’s Friday and it’s 7:30am. You sit up and freak out, you start work in 30 minutes! You should have been up two and a half hours ago. Then your heartbeat slows as you remember, you work from home today. You enjoy a relaxed shower, eat a proper breakfast, put a load of washing on and are sitting in front of your laptop by 8:00am. Sounds heavenly right? Now imagine this wasn’t some crazy twist of fate but your usual routine, a few days each week.
In June 2000 almost one million Australians worked most or all of their hours from home. In 2013, more than a third of micro businesses were enabling staff to work from home (thanks to the internet) while more than three quarters of larger businesses had the facilities for staff to work from home (again, snaps for the internet). Source.
Having worked with entrepreneurs for the last two years I have been privy to the growing support of charging clients for an outcome, rather than X number of hours. The crazy thing is, many companies are still forcing the idea of an hourly rate on their employees. In Sydney, there is no one peak hour. The roads are jammed from as early as 5:30am and don’t ease until after 9:00am. It’s a similar situation in the afternoons, with traffic slowing from 2:00pm until at least 7:00pm. Despite managers requiring their staff to be at their desks 9:00am-5:00pm (or similar), your 7.6 hour paid work day may see you out of the house for 12+ hours. Not only does this add unneeded stress on the environment with so many cars and buses on the roads, it’s adding unneeded stress to what’s most important – you!
Throughout my professional career I have not had a standard 9-5 job; being in the events sphere, you might be bumping in at 5am or locking the doors at 2am, working weekends or 14 days straight. I know that working from home doesn’t suit everyone and it certainly doesn’t suit every industry (sorry nurses, doctors, police officers, firefighters etc…) but there are numerous who could be taking advantage of the benefits.
For me, I like the balance of a few days in the office and a few days at home. I have done the epic commute with four hours of travel every day and it was incredibly draining. I have also done zero commuting, working from home five days a week excluding event days, site visits etc. and it didn’t totally suit me either. I felt such a disconnect with the team who were based all over the globe. With The Grow Project I feel I have the right balance, my usual week is three days in the office and two days from home. We keep it flexible, with some weeks having more days from home or vice versa. I appreciate the days I’m not out the door at 6am – I can catch up on sleep, get a few chores done mid-week and have dinner ready when my husband gets home (rather than neither of us feeling particularly motivated to prepare a nourishing meal after sitting in traffic for two hours) while still ticking everything off my work to do list for the day. Those extra hours in the day, not spent on the road, truly feel like a gift.
If you’re growing your team, or have some established superstars already, I encourage you to look at giving them the option to work from home a day or two each week, with the understanding that some weeks they may need to be in the office five days. Keeping it flexible and with open communication benefits everyone. I am more relaxed the days I work from home and even just knowing that I don’t have to sit in traffic the next day brings me a feeling of calm. I am a firm believer in looking after your biggest asset in business – your people. You cannot scale alone. You cannot have every sales conversation, build products, develop your website and manage your social media alone. You need people – good people – with you. If you genuinely look after your team, it will come back to you tenfold. I think that’s a return on investment you can’t beat.
PS this is where I sat to write this post at 4:00pm on a Tuesday…